Simple behaviors can help ease children’s fears and build a sense of security that helps them through all kinds of changes. Something as simple as a special hug in the morning or reading a bedtime story together can help provide stability and reassurance. The “little things” you do together every day can make the transition out of the military more successful for the whole family. It will comfort your kids—and you, too!
No Matter What
To help children feel safe and secure, choose one routine that will stay constant and predictable—no matter what! Remind children exactly what they can always rely on. For instance, No matter what, you’ll have a bedtime snuggle and story every single night.
In helping kids deal with change, cross off (or color in) days until moving day, days until school starts, and so on, on a paper calendar. You can also put photos of your former home into a small photo book for your children to refer to when talking or thinking about the future or past.
Use Social Media
Sometimes, new connections are as close as your keyboard. For instance, you might join the Facebook page for your new parks and recreation department, or join an online group for families in transition from military to civilian communities. Support networks about military transition assistance are often just a click away.
Many veteran families seek support from other veteran families. The veteran network can be a helping hand from people who know what you are going through. Also, offering your family’s unique talents, skills, and knowledge through your community service can bridge a connection with your past and present identities, and help you stay strong as a family.
Just for Kids
Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going Print and post this U.S. map to give your children a sense of where you are, where you’ve been, where you’re going, and where other important people are (use stickers to mark the different places).
What Changes? What Stays the Same? Print this page and complete it together. First, explain that even though it seems like everything is changing, some things will never change. For instance, you may be moving to a new house, but it’s love that makes it a home, and that always stays the same. Children will even get real comfort from little reminders such as You’ll still sleep on your favorite rainbow sheets!